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Lee Friedlander At Work
October 5, 2004 - January 16, 2005
(above: Lee Friedlander, Cleveland, Ohio, 1980, gelatin silver print, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco)
Work -- we spend the better part of our lives on the job in a factory, an office or somewhere else in the assembly line of service and commerce. On view at the Columbus Museum of Art October 5, 2004 through January 16, 2005, Lee Friedlander At Work records the world of work with over 100 black and white photographs of people earning their day's wage.
Over a period of 16 years, Friedlander captured American workers in locations as diverse as factories, offices, telemarketing centers and corporate offices. The images show the relationships between objects, people and places and reflect the mundane bits and pieces of our lives new, surprising and sometimes humorous ways.
Friedlander's photographs also reveal the secret of work, which is that work shapes who we become. Through the visual net of his lens, we witness changes in workers, in work and the evolution of the American workplace. Though Friedlander is known for his jazz musicians, urban landscapes and stone memorials -- the people and things that make up the American social landscape - -workers became an ongoing subject. (right: Lee Friedlander, Cray, 1986, gelatin silver print, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco)
"This exhibition not only gives us a sense of Friedlander's long and influential career through thematically-linked pictures from 1979 through 1990's," said Chief Curator of the Columbus Museum of Art Catherine Evans, "It also chronicles the complex nature of work in America from the blue collar to desk top."
Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art in partnership with The Photography Collection, SK Cultural Foundation, Cologne, Germany, At Work highlights gelatin silver prints from six commissioned projects.
The six projects include Factory Valleys (1979-1980), manual labor in cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania; Gund (1995), blue collar steel workers in Cleveland, Ohio; Cray (1986) workers at first super computer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; MIT (1985-1986) computer workers on Route 128 in Boston; Dreyfus (1992), trading floor and offices in New York City; and Telemarketing (1995) in Omaha, Nebraska.
Lee Friedlander has had a distinguished career and is recognized as one of the most important photographers of everyday life in America. Among his many awards are a MacArthur Foundation Award, grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and three Guggenheim Fellowships. He has previously published dozens of books, among them the seminal Self Portrait and The American Monument, and more recently, American Musicians, Letters from the People, Little Screens, The Desert Seen and Kitaj. In addition, a retrospective exhibition of his work opens at the Museum of Modern Art in 2005. (right: Lee Friedlander, Dreyfus, 1992, gelatin silver print, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco)
The Columbus Museum of Art is the first U.S. venue for At Work which will travel to Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago (March 16 - May 14, 2005) and Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence (September 10 - November 20, 2005). A European tour at The Photography Collection, SK Cultural Foundation, Cologne, Germany; Huis Marseilles, Amsterdam; and Patrimoine Photographique, Paris preceded the presentations in the United States.
An accompanying exhibition catalogue, published by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., includes reproductions of the photographs in the exhibition and an essay by Richard Benson, Dean of Yale University School of Art.
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